Dr. Oliver Wins Big Award

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Dr. James Oliver

ASU’s Dr. James Oliver Wins Prestigious National Music Award

By Kenneth Mullinax/ASU

The acclaimed director of the University's Mighty Marching Hornets Band, Dr. James Oliver, has added another honor to his long list of accolades and accomplishments with the announcement from the Southern Soul Radio Music Conference that he will receive its "Harmony and Leadership Award" in Atlanta in August. 

Oliver explained that the spectacular three-day event (August 17-19) will be overflowing with an extraordinary lineup of live performances, short film screenings, workshops, and awards ceremonies, covering such genres as Hip Hop, R&B, Southern Soul, Country, Neo Soul, Jazz, Blues and Gospel. 

"It is an honor to win this award, and I am so grateful to receive it with the likes of Kool & the Gang. Chris Tucker and so many others, both young and old with me," Oliver said. "While this award may be directed to me, it belongs as well to each and every member of ASU's band; all who put in long practice hours, several days a week — whether the weather is hot, cold, dry or wet — and then go out and perfectly perform on game day, which shows that this is all part of a team effort." 

ASU's music maestro shared that the award jury noted that one of the many reasons that Oliver won was because of the many homages that he and the Hornets perform at each event from some of Oliver's favorite musicians and groups like Sam Cooke and Earth, Wind, and Fire, to also mixing it up with beats that the younger crowd enjoys.


Renee Atkins, an executive with the Blac Global Group, wrote that Oliver and ASU alumni will have a special opportunity to fellowship at the event.

"During the conference, we will host a special reception in honor of the HBCU Alabama State Mighty Marching Hornets alumni, extending a warm welcome to the esteemed Dr. James Oliver, its band director, for his outstanding contributions in preserving Soul, R&B, and Blues music," Atkins noted.

Oliver said that he also feels that ASU's chief executive officer deserves a "shout out" for his part in making the award happen. 

"I have to also thank our president, Dr. (Quinton) Ross, for his overall support of the band with encouraging words, and also volunteering to help us when it comes to what is in the best interest of our students. I have worked under several different ASU Presidents as band director, and he has been extraordinary 100 percent of the time," Oliver said.


Oliver believes that the recognition that he and the band will receive at the national conference can only boost the already positive name recognition of Alabama State University and the Mighty Marching Hornets Band.

"This will be yet another major asset or feather in our cap to our Alabama State recruiting efforts to get musically gifted students to choose ASU as their college of choice — just as our performing in the Rose Bowl Parade, being featured in major movies, on television shows and being in documentaries have also done to lift us up as one of the finest marching bands in the nation," Oliver remarked. 

News media contact: Kenneth Mullinax, 334-229-4104.